Friday, October 8, 2010

The Seeds of a Nightmare

YesterdayI traveled to Little Switzerland, a charming community where I spoke to the Homemakers' Club. But first I paused in Burnsville, long enough to traumatize a child.

Here's what happened.

Judy, who had invited me to speak, had offered to meet me in Burnsvillle and drive me to Little Switzerland as the shortest way was apt to be confusing. 

"I'll be in a black Four-Runner," she said. "And I'll meet you in the mall parking lot."

So I arrive a little before the appointed time and park where I can keep an eye on cars turninng into the mall. After a while I notice a shiny black Four-Runner parked over by the Burger Kingand I figure that Judy was early too. As I'm getting ready to drive over there, the car backs out and moves to the nearby drug store -- also in the mall.
"Okay," I think and drive over to park beside the black Four Runner. I get out but, to my surprise, there's no one in the car. 

"No worries," I tell myself, "It's still early; Judy's probably slipped into the drug store to pick up something or other."

Then I notice in the back seat,  a head moving behind the dark-tinted windows. Judy mentioned she'd be bringing a neighbor, so I tap  on the window and say, "I'm looking for Judy."

The person doesn't respond and I reach to open the door so as to make myself heard. 

It's locked.

I try the front door -- also locked. Then I put my face to the dark glass and see that it's not a neighbor but a small child strapped into a car seat. 

"Funny," I think. "Why would Judy be bringing a small child to this meeting?" 

Just then, from the corner of my eye I see another black Four-Runner turning into the area where I had originally parked.

And I realize what this poor wide-eyed child must be thinking.

As I hurry into my car, back out and head for the other black Four-Runner, I wonder how good this child's communication skills are. 

Will he startle his mother with a tale of a witch, her wispy white hair blowing around her face as she tapped at his window and tried to get in the car with him?

Or will I figure in his nightmares for years to come?  I hope not.
The meeting was, thank goodness, pleasant and uneventful. 
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Victoria said...

Or will he accurately describe you to his mother and she, having just read your latest book and loved it, think " couldn't be." The mother shows him your photo in the book and the child says "That's her! That's the lady who tried to get in!" Will she then leap to the wrong conclusion, call the authorities and report you as a possible kidnapper? Are they looking for you even as I type this?

Don't worry...I'll bail you out, LOL.

(I know...I have a warped sense of humor. It comes from being married to a cop for waaaay too long).

Victoria said...

I forgot to say: What was the person who left that child alone in the car thinking? That's a dangerous thing to do no matter where one lives.

And...gorgeous photos! :)

Joan said...

Like Victoria, I was wondering about the mother that left a child alone locked in a car. Lucky you came by really Vicki but I love your story and I love victoria's take on it too.

Martin H. said...

Yes, my first thoughts were centred around what sort of person leaves their small child locked in the car, while they go to the shops.

Glad to hear that the rest of your day was enjoyable and uneventful.

Miss_Yves said...

I first thought your post was a remake of the famous movie'"Duel"
Your portrait as a witch is very funny!
I agree with Victoria, Joan and Martin H:it's not reasonable to leave a child alone in a car.

Alan Burnett said...

Great story : and I am sure you will be able to put it to good use in one of your future books.

Reader Wil said...

He won't be scared of you! He thought probably that you were a candy fairy, who wanted to give him the most beautiful lolly of the world!
I love your book already. And in this story you can see that children think differently about situations than adults!

Pat in east TN said...

Although I have to admit I did chuckle a little over your story, my second thought was why this child was left alone in the car, even if only for a few minutes .. even in little, old Burnsville.

Glad the rest of your trip went well ... Little Switzerland is a beautiful place.

June said...

The "face to the dark glass" is where I started laughing. The picture of the wide-eyed child finished me off.

Who knows, maybe Mom was a leetle tired of the kid and was hoping somebody'd come along and take him/her/it off her hands. But she did lock the doors, after all.

Anonymous said...

Poor child,
How a mother could leave his/her child alone in a car ? it boggles the mind !
The rest of your story made me smilling.

♥ Hélène Glehen - a French artist, fond of roses and romantic stuff ♥

Carol@The Writers Porch said...

What a great story! I love Victoria's take on it too! I think if this child was able to describe the events to the parent, they WON'T leave it alone again! So good comes from this after all! XOXO

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks, Victoria! It's always good to have a friend who'll go your bail. No sirens screaming up the driveway ...yet.

When I told my son this story he said I was lucky the small child wasn't on his cell, texting away: Mom, U mght wnt 2 get out here NOW.

Oddly enough, I didn't even think about the child left alone bit -- I was just in a hurry to get away. But you all are right, if the child managed to communicate the story, Mom may think twice before doing this again.

Bouncin' Barb said...

Thank God it was you and not some sicko. That's the exact scenario of the horrors you hear in the news. The best thing that could ever have happened to this kid was that it was you trying to open the door. His mother needs a slap upside her head (or father/his).

Elora said...

Only a good storyteller would come up with such a "wicked" scenario! Maurice Sendak comes to mind!(and, of course, Vicki Lane...!)


Star said...

I expect that you were just as frightened as he was, once you realised what had happened. It is very dangerous to leave a small child in a car alone and the mother or father should be taken to task for it.

Blessings, Star

Louise said...

I hope the kid does tell the story. Because, maybe then, the parents won't leave the child in the car alone again. How can anyone be that dumb?

Liza said...

"As I hurry into my car,"
I love the imagery this line conjured. Some funny body language.

Michele said...

Funny story. What are the odds:)
People will always leave children in the car - it is so much easier than dragging them around, just like people will leave dogs in a vehicle on the hottest days. So many people just don't get it, and as I get older I realise they never will. Maybe that particular parent will now, or maybe not....

Suz said...

oh dear I would have called the police
leaving a little child alone in a locked car
dreadful act
ANd yes so many stories could be prompted by this
and none of them good
But I did find it funny thinking about the child thinking you were a witch...ha ha..what a child remembers is interesting and often distorted
good post

Kath said...

LOL! So you'll use this for the next stalker you need to write about?

NCmountainwoman said...

Definitely the seeds of a nightmare. Unfortunately, this child is probably often left in a locked car and the experience of seeing the "witch" is not likely the most frightening encounter.

With so many other frightening things in a child's life it's a shame to leave one in a locked vehicle.

NCmountainwoman said...

On second thought, I'll bet the child didn't think of a witch. Told Mom that a sweet grandmother looked in on her.

The town is Cashers.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your post today and loving the book "Sins in the Blood"!!

I would love to see an author like you have your blog spruced up...I found a background that would kinda match with your header and still have a mysterious feel to it. You just copy and paste the two column code into an HTML widget in your side bar. If you have trouble, just email me and I'll help all I can.

Here is the page where the background is found;

Vicki Lane said...

Good thing for that missing parent you all weren't with me!

Thanks for the suggestion, Tammy. I took a look and it's a handsome background but I don't think it suits my blog. I only rarely write about mystery stuff on my blog -- it's more to do with my everyday life -- cows and flowers and chickens and tomatoes and odds and ends like that. Besides, I feel like my blog is cluttered enough!

So glad you're enjoying Signs in the Blood!

phyllis w. said...

Oh, dear. The poor child may beg Mom never to leave him alone again!

We've never been to Little Switzerland. Hmmm... might be a lovely weekend to check it out.

Just wanted to say I picked up the new book today at the college bookstore - last copy on the shelf! I'm determined to finish one I'm in the middle of, then looking forward to sinking into the story of Miss Birdie!

Margaret Bednar said...

I keep giggling about this. As awful as it is to leave a child in the car alone, sometimes I have when I am on the other side of the glass and can totally see him. Can you imagine if the mom had called 911. You would have had some fancy explaining to do! LOL I just can imagine your reaction when you realized your mistake --- you were probably talking to yourself - and looked even more "crazy". LOL

Friko said...

O Vicki, have you become a character in one of your own novels?

A wispily white-haired witch, attempting to frighten little children out of their minds. Perhaps you are going to be the real-life witch out of Hansel and Gretel.

Vicki Lane said...

Phyllis - I wasn't aware that the college bookstore carried my books. That's great!

Margaret - which was why I was in such a hurry to get away...

Friko -- my mother used to say she'd like to be a witch and live alone in a little house in the Black Forest. Perhaps I've inherited her tendencies.

Deanna said...

Oh my goodness! Maybe you need to start writing "real life" stories about yourself!

I think I would have been tempted to call 911. No child should be left locked in a car - not even for a moment! There are too many crazy white whispy haired old ladies running loose! ;)

Tipper said...

Oh my that's funny : )